Pearl-bordered fritillary

Pearl-bordered Fritillary underwing

Pearl-bordered Fritillary ©Tamasine Stretton

Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterfly

©Philip Precey

Pearl-bordered fritillary

Scientific name: Boloria euphrosyne
The pearl-bordered fritillary is a striking orange-and-black butterfly of sunny woodland rides and clearings. It gets its name from the row of 'pearls' on the underside of its hindwings.

Species information


Wingspan: 3.8-4.7cm

Conservation status

Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.

When to see

April to August


The pearl-bordered fritillary is a striking orange-and-black butterfly, often seen flying close to the ground along sunny woodland rides or feeding on spring flowers such as common dog-violet. It can also be found in habitats with a mosaic of grass, bracken and scrub. It is the earliest fritillary to emerge in April and may even have a second brood if the weather is good. The female lays single eggs in bracken or leaf litter close to violets, the foodplant of the caterpillars.

How to identify

The pearl-bordered fritillary is an orange butterfly with black marks on the upperside of the wings. It has black-and-silver markings on its underside, along with a row of white 'pearls' on the outer edge of the wing. It can be confused with the small pearl-bordered fritillary, which is similar in size and appearance. They are most easily distinguished by their undersides - each has a row of seven pearls on the outer edge of the wing, but the pearl-bordered fritillary exhibits two very distinct additional pearls (one in the centre of the wing, one close to the body), while the small pearl-bordered fritillary has a colourful mosaic of white, orange and brown markings.


Found in scattered locations in southern England, Wales and Scotland.

Did you know?

Caterpillars overwinter wrapped in a leaf at the base of a foodplant; when they emerge, they are half the size they were the previous summer.